Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Keeping your cat safe during bonfire night

Remember, remember…your cat during fireworks season

I am not a great fan of fireworks to be fair.  Although I understand that the celebrations can be great fun for people, cats (and other animals) can be left stressed out, confused or injured by fireworks.

Apart from the obvious physical damage suffered through accidental contact with fireworks, cats can be badly affected by fireworks noise and lights.  Possible behavioural problems as a result of fear and stress could include house soiling or excessive grooming, whilst there is also the danger of a pet cat running away and never returning home.

Try to find a list of local public firework displays as these can run for a couple of weeks over the 5th November.
Once you know when to be prepared, a few simple precautions can help you to keep fur babies out of harm’s way:

•    Keep your cat in after dark and ensure he/she has access to a litter tray.

•    Try to reduce outside noise by keeping windows shut and curtains drawn. Playing soothing music or having the TV on may also help. Try not to reinforce fearful behaviour by soothing and reassuring a cat that is looking anxious.

•    While cats like to be settled in a cosy, familiar territory such as a comfy bed or favourite chair, when feeling scared they need safe places to hide. Ensure they can exhibit this natural behaviour by providing access to a hiding place, such as under the bed, an igloo-style cat bed or something simple like a cardboard box.  Let them hide in their uninterupted for as long as they need.

•    Make sure all doors and windows are securely closed to prevent your cat from escaping the home.

•    A Pheromone plug-in diffuser such as Feliway® can be used to decrease anxiety and spraying, and can have a beneficial effect in calming a cat during fireworks. However, you must start using it a couple of weeks before 5th November to maximise the benefit. It should be sited in the room/s in which your cat chooses to rest.

If you are having your own bonfire night celebration this year, then why not consider:

•    Buying hand-held cascading fireworks rather than the noisier varieties.

•    Holding a ‘silent’ fireworks display – many companies now offer quiet or almost silent fireworks – giving you the same spectacle without the loud bangs.

•    Keeping fireworks and bonfire displays as far away from homes as possible, to minimise any adverse effects on animals indoors, although bear in mind the effect these displays will have on wild animals.

•    Always check bonfires before lighting them to ensure that no small animals are sleeping inside.

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